I was blessed to be able to travel last summer, visiting southern Germany and Poland. It was a wonderful trip. My husband is not one for museums, but we saw so much beautiful artwork in the churches of both countries. There were images from as early as the 11th century through our times. They were painted on panels, fresco’d on walls, created as mosaics, carvings, sculptures–truly marvelous to see!
I noticed how different the “typical” images were in Europe vs the United States. Most often in the U.S.–at least in the western regions where I have lived–the images of Mary, most often portrayed her as the Immaculate Conception or Our Lady of Lourdes. Also very popular were Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady of Guadalupe. These images are everywhere: in churches, homes, gardens, holy cards–and even in miniature, stamped onto rosary beads.
Throughout the Polish and Alpine German areas, There were also images of the Mother of God in churches, shrines, gardens, and on public buildings. The images seen most often were from the Book of Revelations, like these:
and as Our Lady of Sorrows, pierced by swords, such as these:
and as Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, often holding the Christ Child.
There were also many statues of “The Pieta”, with this one shown below in a side altar in the Cathedral in Gdansk, Poland.
I am not enough of an expert to speculate as to the hows or whys, but found these cultural differences fascinating. Only Our Lady of Guadalupe had some resemblance to the European types, in coloring of garments and depiction of strength. I’d love some insights, if you care to comment.